Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mont Tremblant 70.3 Race Report

 I took a risk and made my first 'A' race of 2012 at brand new race site.  Last weekend was the inaugural Ironman 70.3 in Mont Tremblant.  I loved it.  The village of MT was very warm and welcoming. Now, tourism is their thing. It's the bread and butter of this beautiful little village. Of course they wanted us there. However, this is also the case for other host towns but they do not always welcome us with open arms.  This was a refreshing change for me.

Most of my best photos from the weekend are stuck in my phone. I can't seem to get them onto blogger...  I will keep trying. The village is centered on a hill. The hotels and shops and cafes sprawl their way up the street. A small Tram is at the base and you can ride up and down the road that way or hike up on your own. ( ahem... we timed this perfectly After the race... yup.. tram closed and Mommy was forced to crawl back up this Hill in order to go luge riding. Perfect post Half Ironman fun don't you think? ouch.  :) )  There's a nice courtyard at the top with restaurant seating everywhere. There's a chair lift to the top where the kids saw free roaming giant birds ( never did hear much about this one... I just know they saw Huge birds eating things.. sorry... day before race fog for me ).  And, one of the favorites was the luge ride. I think the kids and Mark took >20 trips down that thing.  It was fun, I admit. Though they were all disgusted with my pokiness on the slide.  Hey.. I spent the whole morning racing!  I was up there to sight-see at that point. All of these things overlook the big pretty lake that we started the day in along with the colorful European style buildings that crawled down the hillside.

Our hotel was AT Transition... but it was better than that.   We walked out the door, down the hall, down the stairs into this:

 a great little Cafe with such yummy treats and coffee and sandwiches! Then, out that door and Bam.. you're at the race site.  To make things even easier, many of the little cafes and restaurants opened at 3:00 a.m. on race morning!!!  And, the race organizers had a table out in the courtyard with bagels, coffee, bananas for us. You know, these little details matter to us! It made things Very very easy.
Mark and I at dinner the night we arrived. 

 The big Ironman stage set up at the base of the hill. I could look at this from my hotel window. Behind it is Transition. ( Huge clean parking lot..very easy to navigate.)  They blasted Great music from this stage All weekend. I took it as a sign.. an omen of good things to come...that U2 seemed to be their favorite band as well.
 These two shots were taken from our dinner table the first night. The top picture shows the tram that goes up the hill.  The boys are leaning on one of the railings of the finishing chute.  The last 1K of the run weaved it's way from up on the hill down through town and finished right at that stage.  The clock tower behind the kids is our hotel. ( Le Tour de Voyageurs...I recommend it if you're thinking about this race. It's incredibly convenient.)

Back to the race!!!!!

I spent Saturday on the bed. I think I moved to the couch for a few minutes too. I read. I watched French TV. I did go out and rack the bike. That was about it. Oh.. I had a huge waffle breakfast that morning too.  Yup.. that was the big event of the day. It's a long long day... and at the same time... it goes way too fast. 
I was nervous and yet, not so much. I had waves of uncertainty, waves of excitement and confidence, and just overall that day before Off Feeling. I do actually like tapering. I like the rest period and the mellow week of workouts. But, by Saturday, I was a mess. I was no longer tired so I was up at night. And, that made me tired. Vicious cycle I think. I was barely working out but I had to eat a lot. So, I felt gross. I just felt gross on Saturday. It's a bit unnerving. And yet, I've done this before so I didn't let it stress me out. Not too much at least. :) 

4:02 a.m. Race day---
The alarm... or I should say, the alarms. I had about 3 set.  I was instantly worried because I didn't Jump out of bed in my eager beaver readiness state. Uh oh... 
I went through the normal drill. Gag down the bagel, banana, some coffee, a few sips of ensure....  wash up and head out.  
Body marking was fast. The bike guys in Transition were amazing. They were FAST and Efficient at pumping our tires with some electric pump thing. They reassured me about my tires... it was all easy. 
I walked back to the room!  I left my big gear bag there and headed off again. 

The walk to the swim was kind of far.  I had to wear shoes and keep a shirt on. This made it necessary to use the morning gear bag. ( this is for those doing the IM in August...  be prepared for the walk to the start.  The bags were dumped in numbered bins.  When I got back to Transition after the race, the had Delivered our bags TO our bike spot! Nice and easy. Again...those details help!)  

The swim start was fun.  They had More great music. Flags flying everywhere. And, 9 or 10 jets in formation flew over us 2 or 3 times.  We arranged ourselves in waves, warmed up ( very warm water... 74 degrees...)  and got ready. 
I was wave 8. sigh... why oh why do they think we should be in the back? 40-44 year old women are Not slow! We are always behind the 50+ men and we almost always out swim them... makes for a big cluster a few minutes into the race for us. 

I lined up next to a woman I Knew was fast. I could tell. She stood confidently and had big shoulders. I know how to spot swimmer's shoulders!!  She was the one for me to watch.  I was checking people out. Giving them the once over. Ok ladies... I'm ready... who am I going after today? I have fun with that. I love to try to figure out which ones I'm going to be racing. 
First job was lady swimmer. The cannon blasted and we ran in.  I dove and dove and dove and we popped up together. I drafted off her for a while.  Nearing the first turn buoy I lost her. I was amidst many men. damnwheredidshego???? The sun was blinding.  I had No clue where the buoys were. The swim starts on one beach and ends on another!  
I just followed people and looked for shadows of buoys ahead. 
There's not much to say here except I swam hard. And yet, I was totally in control. I was wishing for someone to swim with. I wanted someone to go stroke for stroke with me and make me Suffer! I tried to force myself into the suffer mode but.. I am not sure I was there. 
The strangest thing was my left arm. It was dead. Numb. Useless. I had to have a few talks with myself. First, "hmm... my arm isn't really doing anything over there. It's really not pulling. I think it's just going back and forth reflexively. It's dead actually. I can't feel it. why is that? I think there's something wrong with my arm. I wonder if anyone else has this.." 
SNAP OUT OF IT!  Girl you are RACING! Stop making excuses for your stupid arm and Pull! So, I watched that left arm and made very very conscious underwater catches and started moving some water!  Sometimes there's too much time to space out. 

Finally.. I heard the screams. I was about in. I swam and swam until I was scraping bottom. I chuckled at all the people trying to Run through the water. (hint: don't' do that.. .swim as Far in as you can. It's much much easier and Faster!) 

swim :  27:50   

I made eye contact with a big strong male wetsuit stripper, pointed at him and said, "RIGHT HERE!" 
He ripped it off and I started the LONG run to T1. 
That wasn't my favorite. There was a red carpet ( nice touch ) along the roads but it hurt my feet. 

T1-- HI Mark and boys!! big waves... 
Glasses, helmet, GO! ( shoes on bike again thankyouverymuch ) 
ALMOST out when "You forgot your number!!! "
NO! ? ME??? shoot... 
that's what I get for having my shoes on my bike and being pro-like. haha..  I never looked down and so I forgot my race belt. 
grrrr. I had to go back. and T1 is big.  
It's ok.. Focus

Mark yelled just that as I finally mounted the Velo..."Ange  FOCUS! "
Ok.. game on.

I was on the bike and instantly climbing. Oh oh.. what was I in for on this course. It's ok. I know hills. I ride hills all day long.   I was also instantly in control. I felt good.  I knew right from the start of the ride that my legs were totally ready. And, despite my lackluster feeling at 4:02 a.m, I had the racing fire in my belly. I was lovin' every second out there. 

The course is awesome. I loved it. I felt a smile on my face the whole ride. The roads are almost all repaved. They are wide and permanently marked for the Ironman racers.  There were big huge rollers but you could just flyyyyyyyyyyy on them. I felt incredible.  

And yet, there was this noise. I had some very irritating constant noise coming from my bike. My focus was gone. I reached down and tried to wiggle things to see if something was loose. I battled back and forth. Keep going? Stop to fix? Finally, I stopped. And then again. Crazy. There was nothing that I could find. Just go. It bothered me from mile 20-56... but.. nothing went wrong.  

The ride was fast for me. I felt really strong. But it was hot too. I drank and drank and drank. I went through both EFS bottles. It did the trick but it also left me feeling so thirsty.  I grabbed perform at one point and drank nearly the whole bottle during the aid station stretch. Probably a mistake that came back to get me.  

I was moving fast and taking numbers. I checked the legs of all women I came upon to see their age. (marked on our legs at the race start ) .  I think it was pretty early on that I found my swimmer friend. I hid my face and hammered by in stealth mode. No need for her to see me and try to chase me after all. The rest of the women were younger.  I was in a good spot. I could feel it.  The final 15 miles of the ride are tough. You pass by transition and head out on new roads that go UP and DOWN over and over and over. It was very hot and we slowed so much. There seemed to be a headwind as well. It's a hard way to end the ride.  

At this point, I was talking sternly with myself about staying tough. I was over the point of feeling amazing and fast and I was feeling hot. How I handled nutrition at this point was critical. How I handled my head was even more critical.  I had no idea what was ahead. The run course was unseen territory.  

Into T2:

SPLIT: 2:38 YES! I was fired up about this.  

Ok... focus again.  

socks, (always in 70.3/ 140.6 races for me... I have no need to be distracted and slowed by nasty blisters when it only takes me 15 sec to don those socks.),  run shoes, garmin, gel flask, salt, visor

Why was there so much to carry! My foggy brain was a bit flustered. I started stuffing things down my shirt.  The garmin went on fast. The rest was in my shirt. The visor and I battled. It was hot and sunny and I wanted that on!  I was running down the road messing with that thing and driving myself crazy. It kept coming undone in the back and getting stuck in my hair! It was pathetic.  In that fluster I realized I forgot to take the glasses off. ugh.. I never run with my glasses...  

Time for another chat in my head "chill... just run.  Stop. put the hat on. done. Ok.. run. small steps. You are doing your thing now.  stay tough... " 

The heat of the day was with us. The sun was high and the run started with more climbing.  I felt like I was at home. I start all my runs with 1/2 mile UP. Here... we went up for about 3-4K. ( I started thinking in K instead of M on this trip. The run was 21.1 K and so I just went with it...) 
It might have been more than that. All I know is we went up up up for TOO long in my opinion.  I was feeling bad. I'm not so sure why.  
I wanted water so badly.  
FIrst aid station, I stopped. I drank and drank and poured. 
Second station, same thing. In fact, I did this at All the aid stations.  

I was irritated with myself but I felt this desperate need to drink. I couldn't even consider taking the gel from the flask. It wasn't happening.  

Mile 6 finally came along. By now we were cruising down a soft surface rail bed. Racers filled the path in both directions.  As miserable as I felt, I was taking more numbers. 
"good pace.. keep it up.. nice run.. " I kept hearing those words. That pumped me up and pushed me along. 
Ok.. Keep going girl! You're moving forward! 
I made the turn at 6 miles and things clicked. It was a Long gradual climb again out of the rail bed but I felt amazing. I pushed so hard. I felt fast. My form felt good. I kept my head down and didn't look at the racers coming towards me. I had a feeling I was leading, if I had kept track properly, and I didn't want whomever was 2nd to see me if she was close. 

I started in with coke around mile 7 or 8. LOVE coke when things get hard like that. It's the perfect change and boost in energy. 

Instantly, all my crazy overloading of fluids caught up to me. Massive side stitch/ cramp hit.  Great. I ignored it at first. Then I found myself running with my hand on my side. 

I also started to become aware that my time was not where it should have been. 

I had to accept that and just finish as strong as possible. 

So that's what I did. As Kurt has told me many times, shut off the brain and just go with 5K left. Let it rip. 

I ran up more hills and could hear the crowds. Into the town and onto the village road half way up the hill. The finish line is Long and filled with crowds on both sides. Music was blasting and the energy was positive and fun.  

Looking ahead I saw a little boy climbing on lamp post column... who else? Tommy!!   Big smiles all around.  I saw them all recognize  me and we all waved. 

DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!             run 1:38 

Time: 4:51
1st place age group
2nd amateur
12th overall woman 

Off to the World Championships in Vegas we go!!! 


On the Podium 
The finish 
The most delicious crepes... our breakfast as we headed out of town. 


Marisa said...

Awesome. HUGE congrats!!!!!

Beth said...

LOVE seeing you on top of that podium Ange!!! Once again, STELLAR race! Way to nail it. You will love Vegas and ROCK it!! :) Congrats!

Mary IronMatron said...

Great report and GREAT RACE!! Yes, I kept thinking as I read.. oh no! Stop chugging b/c you're going to get a side stich cramp! :)
So is that girl in 2nd in the picture the big swimmer girl?

Ange said...

:) You knew what was coming didn't you Mary! I drank my way into that. Ha...never stop learning lessons.
Yes, #2 girl is the swimmer and #3 girl was 3rd in our age at LP!! She spoke to me about that...

mmmonyka said...


I was supposed to do IM Mt. Tremblant as my first IM but unfortunately I will not be able to due to ITB problem. Reading your report (beautiful location, challenging course, awesome organisation) makes me even more sad that I am not able to do it:(

Jen Small said...

congrats!! so proud of you :)

sounds like an awesome locale and I just might have to add this to my schedule for next year!

Jennifer Harrison said...

SO happy for you, Ange, as always!!! Those 40-44 girls better watch out in Vegas! ;0 congrats !!!

Pam said...

Way to go!!!

Kim said...

Congrats ange! Awesome job lady.

Jon said...

Congrats on the great race! I absolutely loved loved LOVED that race! Will be back up in August for the full. Couldn't get enough of that bike course.

Melissa said...

Nice detailed race report. Very interesting. Congrats on an awesome run!

cost per head said...

One thing that it sounds nice. it is to go to all those amazing cities.

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